Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t know where to start? Check out these FAQs to get you on your way.
How do I apply for financial aid?
For the 2014-2015 academic year: Fill out a 2014-2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can apply online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. We may also require a copy of parents' and student's 2013 federal income tax return transcript, all pages and W-2 forms. If we require this additional information, we will notify you. For more information visit the Apply for Aid page.
St. John's FAFSA school codes:
How long does the process take?
Normally, about 2 to 4 weeks. You should apply as early as possible. The FAFSA may be filed after January 1.
I'm not going to qualify for need-based aid. Should I still fill out the FAFSA?
If you are not sure whether you qualify, it’s best to file. Financial aid includes grants, scholarships, work, and loans. You may not qualify for need-based grants, but student loans are always obtainable and the forms are necessary for government loans.
What is merit aid? How do I know if I am eligible?
All students entering as freshmen are eligible for merit scholarships regardless of their family income. Merit scholarships are awarded based on academic promise, as shown through your high school record, application essays, and other criteria including test scores. A separate application is not required for merit aid. St. John’s offers several types of merit scholarships with varying award amounts.
What is a Student Aid Report, and what should I do with it?
You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Department of Education after they process your FAFSA. Please check the messages on it, as some conditions may prevent you from receiving aid until they are resolved. DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR SAR. KEEP IT FOR YOUR RECORDS.
What is an award letter?
An award letter is the school's offer of Federal, State, and Institutional financial aid. If you have been awarded merit aid, it will show that as well.
When will I receive my award letter?
First and foremost, make sure you have turned in your FAFSA if you would like to be considered for need-based aid. With this document missing, the college cannot complete your award. Award letters, including those for merit aid, are sent after you receive notice about acceptance at the college (see Timeline and Deadlines). Returning students should expect their awards once their file has been completed. If you need to know what we still need, please contact our office.
I haven't received my award letter yet. What should I do?
Don't panic. Contact the Financial Aid office to check the status.
What is the difference between the Treasurer's Office (Business Office) and the Financial Aid Office? How about the Admissions Office?
The Financial Aid Office reviews financial aid applications and determines students’ awards. The Treasurer's Office bills tuition, fees, and other institutional charges. Any information about billing or account balances needs to be directed to the Treasurer's Office. The Admissions Office handles all aspects of your application for admission, which is considered apart from your financial aid status.
I've been awarded work study. What does that mean?
Work study is a state or federally funded employment program. You are awarded a dollar amount to earn and this amount will appear on your award letter. Jobs are limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds earned will be received through a paycheck, not posted to your billing account. Receiving a work award does not guarantee an on-campus position. Please complete the Campus Employment Application if you are interested in a position.
What is verification?
By law, the US Department of Education selects 30% of all St. John's students who file a FAFSA for verification of the information in the financial aid applications. It is the responsibility of the Financial Aid Office to collect necessary financial documentation and verify the accuracy of the listed information. The financial Aid office will contact you after the FAFSA has been received to let you know what other documentation is needed. You must turn in all financial documentation requests before your loans are processed and your account credited with financial aid.
What does "need-based aid" mean? What is "need"?
"Need" is determined by using this formula: Cost of Attendance (COA) -
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need.
Cost of Attendance includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation, room and board, and miscellaneous costs. The Expected Family Contribution number is derived from the information you provided on the FAFSA. This is the amount that can reasonably be expected from your family as contribution toward educational expenses. If you subtract your EFC from the school’s COA and you end up with a positive number, then you have "financial need" (or "need"). If you end up with a negative number, then you do not demonstrate "financial need." You will receive "need based aid" if you demonstrate financial "need."
All students are eligible for merit aid scholarships, regardless of whether they demonstrate need or not.
Where can I get information on tax benefits for higher education like the Hope Scholarship or Lifetime Learning Credit?
Information on tax benefits for higher education can be found at The Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning Credits or contact your tax accountant. Financial Aid Office cannot counsel students or parents on how to prepare their taxes.
Who can I contact with other questions?
If you have further questions, contact the Financial Aid office.